Hold on, just one final brushstroke should do it…
In the process of writing this issue’s cover story we didn’t ask Techland’s Tymon Smektała how much stock he places in Shigeru Miyamoto’s crusty old declaration that a delayed game will eventually be good, while a rushed game will be bad forever. Nowadays, isn’t it more fashionable to launch a game with the intention of overhauling it entirely over time anyway, whether that’s through refinements, season updates, DLC or beyond? It’s an especially relevant point for Techland, which has spent the past five years adding bits to Dying Light, a process that’s helped to retain an active playerbase that even now outnumbers that of most new releases.
With all of the challenges facing studios in 2021, it’s easier to imagine modern game development being driven by a much older contention – that perfect is the enemy of good. And yet in September came news of another delay for Dying Light 2, pushing its release into next year. For Smektała and his colleagues, that first impression really matters. The response to Cyberpunk 2077’s launch is still resonating nine months later.
Newsflash: trying to make amazing stuff is really hard, especially when it has a head-spinning assortment of moving parts, all required to function in clockwork concert. It’s partly why Rockstar is revamping GTAV once more rather than serving up a sequel next year, and it’s why the landing strip is being stretched out for Dying Light 2, allowing its dense layers of interconnecting systems to be tuned until they’re bulletproof. It’s all in support of a sequel that pushes harder than the original game in pretty much every direction, as our cover story details, beginning on p54.
Elsewhere, we tell the inside story of Sony’s PS2 launch (p70), while Giles Goddard explains how his career once saw him calling a local computer club in desperation when faced with a 16bit conversion job that felt beyond his reach (p78). Though opposites in scale, both of these projects provided the kind of tests that create lasting memories. Techland would surely be encouraged by the eventual successes in each case.